With the month of December firmly at our side, it’s time to start thinking about the next stage of the holiday season before we officially wind down 2019. Though for many by this point in time, the perspective has likely evolved from simply “thinking” of the forthcoming festivities. I’m guessing part of the mood has instead escalated to a frightened last minute, “Amazon and shopping list”-fueled, shaky-brandy-fever haze of equal parts perspiration and preparation.
Or… hopefully something a bit less extreme than that description was going for, but you get the idea.
Regardless, this post isn’t meant to reflect on such insignificant, commercialized matters. What I like to focus on instead during this period of time… is the pure aspect of simple joy. Whether the likes of Christmas, Hanukkah or just your own peace of mind acts as your guide, it’s important to snag every good vibe possible while taking the tour. Though it’s okay to be a Grinch too… at least sometimes anyway.
But to go back to that positivity, I can sense a wealth of it bubbling up in musician Rändi Fay and her cover of 90’s holiday tune “Grown-Up Christmas List”. The track’s arrangement is a sugarplum-sweetened send-up to that so-called “most wonderful time of the year”, with the rise and fall of a prime power-pop ballad soaked in a sheen of tinsel-like synths.
Despite the song having an edge that leans on the side of saccharine, Fay never steps over the line into the realm of corny and contrived here. Rather, the track’s sentiment of wishes for peace, love and harmony wear as well on her vocals as a familiar fall sweater. And in a world that can be quite scary in today’s day and age, that’s the kind of comfort we should never take for granted.
Now while we’re exploring this moment of such prominent holiday themes, I thought I would take this moment to turn things over to Rändi herself. She was kind enough to send over her own playlist of Christmas-themed tunes, read on to check ’em out!
Christmas music is so diverse, as is the spirit of Christmas. There are so many moods! And so many songs that I have performed, recorded and really enjoy! For this playlist, I focused on my experience of the season’s undercurrent of quiet love and anticipation. That is my favorite part of the holiday-unambiguous, honest, simple love. Candlelight and faith, sharing time, sharing hearts, or just sharing. I look forward to that all year! I added in a few Christmas songs that I have written-it is no surprise they effortlessly fall into this vein-and the songs that inspired my lyric and message.
- Grown-Up Christmas List: Rändi Fay
I chose to record my first cover song in 7 years. If you know this song, the reason why will be obvious. It’s incredible! And eternally apropos. Can we collectively make our planet a more compassionate place by choosing kindness? That is my “Grown-Up Christmas List.”
2. One King: Point of Grace
The idea of four kings is so simple, fresh and beautiful. “One king held the frankincense, one king held the myrrh, one king held the purest gold, one king held the hope of the world…” I recorded this song on my “Noël” CD in 2012 and it is still one of my favorites on that project. Here is the original version by Point of Grace:
3. Some Children See Him: James Taylor
So sweet and true, through the eyes of a child, love is love. My recurring wish…
4. Joy Whispered: Rändi Fay
While writing this song, I tried to capture the vast span of culture present at the birth of Jesus- worldly kings, poor shepherds, heavenly angels all sharing their collective excitement of the birth of a child! But whispering their celebration so as not to wake him…Sweet and simple. Precious. Universal.
5. Merry Christmas Darling: Sitti
Being with the one you love-another Christmas wish. “I wish I were with you.” This is a very strong pull for me in the holiday, and the inspiration for my song “Evergreen.”
6. Song for a Winter’s Night: Gordon Lightfoot
Writing a love letter during a sleepless night through a winter snowfall, cold and dark. How telling is this sentiment: “I read again between the lines upon each page, the words of love you sent me…” Anticipation, heartfelt trust…When writing the lyric for “Evergreen” I wanted to touch at those communication gaps where hope fills in the blanks. And waiting through a storm with faith. You will come home. I recorded this song on my “Noël” CD as well, and it too is one of my favorites.
8. Blow Northern Wind: Midævil Babes
I absolutely love this one-the harmonies and clear tones are bewitching! Another inspiration for the mood and mystery I was hoping for “Evergreen.”
9. Evergreen: Rändi Fay
Haunting and sincere-this song is about waiting and faith and unconditional love. One of my earliest co-writes with my current producer and one of my favorites!
10. Wexford Carol: Libera
A continuation of pure tones, the simplicity of children’s voices, honesty. This whole album is stunning!
11. Mary, Did You Know?: Straight No Chaser
I have performed this song a hundred times and also recorded it for “Noël.” As a mother, it is very dear and near to me. I wonder what Mary knew? How could she possibly have grasped the potential and gravity in this child she just gave birth to? I love the fact that this song was written by a man, and I chose a version performed by men. The mystery is so great, crossing gender and generations. This song inspired “Little Babe.”
12. Little Babe: Rändi Fay
This song was a very powerful one for me to write. It is my attempt to answer the question in “Mary Did You Know?” From a mother’s perspective at the time of Jesus’ birth, I think all she knew was love and protection. How overwhelming those two simple emotions are at their core, when a new child comes into your life. You don’t think beyond it. You just want them safe in your arms forever.
Thank you for the chance to share some of my favorite Christmas and seasonal songs. Here is a link to the entire playlist- I am still populating it! I would love suggestions for some of your a little more obscure favorites!
“Not for myself, but for a world in need…”